A Guide to Content Marketing

How To Do Content Marketing Right: A Step-by-Step Guide

Meabh Maguire Content Marketing Leave a Comment

In this content rich day-and-age, most businesses have stopped asking: should I do content marketing? Wondering instead: how do you get it right? Reading our overview of content marketing, you may have discovered that behind all successful content is a great content strategy. This is the first step towards content success. Now we want to help you create, optimise and measure your content to get the best out of your efforts. That’s why using our own analytics and recently published data on the current state of content we produced: How To Do Content Marketing Right: A Step by Step Guide. (You can thank us later!)

We have condensed the essentials into five easy-to-follow sections, covering everything from content creation to results. Read on to find out more about:

Why You Should Invest in Content Marketing

The Importance of Content Preparation

Why Content Creation and Optimisation go hand-in-hand

How to Promote Your Content like a Pro

Why Measuring Results Could Transform Your Content Success   


Why You Should Invest in Content Marketing

Overnight success is as seldom achieved in the virtual domain as it is in reality. Why? Because, success is hard-earned and usually involves hours of painstaking work, preparation, and some trial-and-error along the way. As outlined above, the journey towards the successful execution of content proves it is no exception to this rule.

That, however, is not deterring North American businesses. In the Content Marketing Institute’s 2017 B2B Content Marketing Report, 89% of respondents said they practice content marketing, while 93% said their business was, “extremely committed”, “very committed” or “somewhat committed” to content marketing in the future.

B2B Content Marketing Report

SOURCE: Content Marketing Institute

With such a glowing endorsement from within the marketing community, it is clear the daily deluge of content onto our screens isn’t set to lose pace anytime soon. Why then, are companies so committed to throwing huge resources and time behind an operation that requires great logistics yet no guarantee of short-term success?

The answer can be largely attributed to the arrival of the internet. Consumers, now inundated with information and choice, gained control over which content they interacted with, creating the pick-and-mix trend of content consumption we see today. For their part, marketers’ focus shifted from the “push” style tactics of traditional marketing to attracting and retaining new customers with engaging content in an increasingly crowded digital space. Thus, the seemingly endless battle of content emerged.

Content now acts as a channel for marketers to reach out to customers by providing them with product information, reviews, and pieces of interest, expertise or entertainment. Each form of communication is aimed at creating brand awareness and loyalty. The question isn’t then: should I invest in content marketing? Rather, how much do I value the future of my business?

The volume of content being produced and developed alongside new technologies and platforms also demonstrates a clear supply-and-demand. Indeed, in HubSpot’s most recent State of Inbound report, most marketers listed top priorities were content-led:

Marketing Priorities 2017Source: HubSpot

Chief among them is SEO/organic presence (61%), which is highly influenced by content and will be discussed at length later. Organic presence was followed closely by blog content creation (53%), content distribution/amplification (47%) and, the growing disrupter trend of visual content creation (31%) and long-form/visual content creation (29%).

If this is not proof enough that now is the time to get on board with content, then maybe the sheer levels of consumption will sway you. According to this infographic published by Contently, we simply can’t get enough of it:

Social Media Shares 2016

Source: Contently 

Let’s give this some perspective: that’s as many tweets per minute as the number of people who live in Leicester and almost as many Facebook likes per minute as people who live in Ireland.

Now we understand the huge demand for content and why it should form an integral part of any overall marketing effort, isn’t it time you sprang into action? Let’s see how you can get started with a content strategy.


The Importance of Content Preparation

While falling short of predicting which topics or forms of content your audience may enjoy, a well thought-out content strategy will help you cater for your audience. A key part of this is understanding and prioritising the pieces your audience would find useful. It also helps build a coherent theme to structure your content around in the future. The first step in this process should be developing a buyer persona.

Buyer personas are a tool used by marketers to ensure their content is focused, therefore reaching those it should want to target. Thinking beyond general demographics is key when building a comprehensive client profile. The more detailed your questions are, the more thorough your picture will be. These are the types questions you should be considering:

* What is their job title?
* What is their level of income?
* What is their educational level?
* What are their hobbies and interests?
* What is their role in the buying process?
* Why are they interested in buying your product?
* What concerns do they have when buying your product?
* What content topics and formats do they enjoy?

Canvassing clients and researching areas of interest in your field should help you answer some of these questions. In this study by Marketing Charts, the most popular research tactics for B2B marketers responsible for overseeing content in successful organisations earning $100 million or more includes: interviewing internal subject matter experts (33%), attend events like webinars and trade shows (28%), interview sales (47%), and build buyer’s journey maps (48%).

Content Marketing Audiences

Source: MarketingCharts

Why Content Creation and Optimisation go hand-in-hand

Now it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty: how do you create great content?

When industry professionals say, “content is king”, what they really mean is “original content is king.” The importance of one-off, truly authentic pieces can not be stressed enough. By anyone. Ever.

This is because of two things: consumer needs and search engine optimisation.

People need content for knowledge, to make informed choices, for entertainment purposes, they may even use it for advice. In today’s world, search engines are the gatekeepers of content. When a visitor goes online and makes a search, they expect content to provide them with the answers they need and fast! This is a core feature which hasn’t gone unnoticed by search engines themselves.

In a bid to tackle problems associated with early search engine use – such as spam and irrelevant content – algorithm updates were introduced to revolutionise user experience. Sites invested in providing original and quality web content would be rewarded with a higher search ranking. In fact, sites practicing keyword stuffing or duplicate content are now penalised, setting the standard for years to come.

If you are struggling with original content ideas it may be helpful to think along the lines of search and match content to user intent. That is:

* What would a potential customer search for when trying to find your products or services?
* What types of content would they find useful? Different forms include advice columns, product descriptions, reviews, how-to videos, webinars and light entertainment articles, for example.
* How will your content answer their questions?
* Would adding image and video make the content more appealing?
* Can you add interactive content to engage more with your customers?
* When they reach your landing page, is the content visible and easy to navigate?

Get inspired with tools like Google Keyword Planner and Google Trends, which will provide an insight into popular search terms and phrases in your product or service area. This is also a vital component of content optimisation. Keyword research will specifically determine what it is your customers are searching for, allowing you to create and optimise content that directly addresses those needs.

Another crucial element of optimisation is the inclusion of title tags and meta descriptions. They enable search engines to accurately index web pages and distribute its content accordingly while offering a heading and brief extract to searchers. The title tag, which is displayed on search engine results page as a headline, is the title of a given web page. The meta description is a synopsis of the page’s content, and should include your target keyword as well as actionable verbs, such as “find out more” or “read on”.

Employing SEO tactics to optimise your content in this way can have a huge impact on business. It ensures it is visible to customers when they are actively searching for your product or services, it improves click-through-rate and if consistent, will increase brand awareness and loyalty in the long-run. Take a look at this analysis from a client of ours:

Content-Optimisation-Overview on Ahrefs

Source: CodifyMedia

Having completed deep keyword research and analysis of our client’s site, we identified new keyword opportunities and optimised content to target these keywords. This vastly improved both organic traffic and the overall quality score of the website. As you can see, in just a few months there was a 200% increase in organic traffic after keyword and content optimisation. This is the real-time impact SEO and content marketing integration could have on your business.

In this sense, you can take a two-pronged approach to content marketing: use content to achieve greater visibility on search and search to connect more people with your content. By integrating your SEO and content strategy, you can use both to equal advantage.


How to Promote Your Content like a Pro

Getting content right in the digital age means putting it out there into the digital arena. Who wants to brainstorm, write, video, photoshop, re-write or edit pieces that won’t be enjoyed and shared by an audience? In a time when self-promotion across social media is by no means out of the ordinary, the very least you should do is share it across your social platforms. Promotion doesn’t have to end with a social share either, there are many options available should you want to get your content out there. Here are some of the ways in which you can promote your content online:

*Social Media Campaigns: Instead of relying on social shares alone, you could set aside some of your advertising budget for a social media campaign. Paid social media ads are a great option for businesses looking to promote their content in a cost-effective and highly-targeted way. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn let you to choose who sees your ad based on factors like connections, interests, demographics and even, what time of the day your ad shows. This ensures your content will be shown to those most likely to be interested in it already.

* Email Marketing: Email subscription lists are an incredibly powerful remarking tool. Not only do they ensure your audience is kept up-to-date with your latest posts but can offer an insight into how your content is performing amongst your target audience. Email lists can be built using call-to-actions during the sales process, when they sign-up to your site or when customers enter competitions. Additionally, site subscribers are engaged with your brand or message, making them more likely to share posts across social media.

* Guest Posting: Research high authority websites relevant to your business that publish guest content. Receiving backlinks from any website with high domain authority will provide a welcome SEO boost while exposing your business to customers far beyond your normal reach.

* Reaching out to Industry Influencers: Build relationships and engage with industry influencers such as journalists, bloggers and experts. With the ability to connect you to other across your specific community and the power to promote your business across related content, they are an invaluable long-term asset.

* Google AdWords Campaigns: Like email marketing, Google’s Display Network is a great remarketing platform. You can retarget highly qualified consumers as well as promoting your business or content to those browsing relevant sites.


Why Measuring Results Can Transform Your Content Success:

Measuring content success may not immediately spring to mind when thinking of the (disputable) glamorous world of content marketing, but it is one of the most decisive parts of the content journey. Conducting an ongoing performance review can mean the difference between content marketing success or failure. Tracking and evaluating content engagement regularly will tell you which pieces performed best, which didn’t quite hit the mark and most importantly, which forms to allocate more resources to in the future.

Reverting back to your content strategy is the easiest way to measure success. Think about the goals and objectives identified and compare your content metrics to see if it delivered on desired outcomes. In line with these goals and objectives, you can ask yourself:

* Did content increase traffic?
* Did it help raise brand awareness?
* Has my conversion rate went up?
* Have my social shares gone up?

Every business is, of course, different. What may work content-wise for one, may not work for another. Extracting valuable information from your content analysis such as, which channel consumers engage with you most on, will enable you to cater to their needs. This is exactly what Slate Magazine did when they realised Twitter was their readers’ platform of choice. Speaking in a podcast for DigiDay.com, Editor-in-Chief Julia Turner said:“We put more emphasis on Twitter than a lot of other places. Twitter has become terminally uncool now… Even if its not the trendiest bet, it’s where we connect with our readers.”

Whatever your initial goals, this aftercare stage is incredibly invaluable when considering future content projects. Content marketing isn’t about what works best for you, it’s about what works best for your audience. 


The author’s views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of CodifyMedia.

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